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China 'bullying' is damaging its reputation in Europe, analyst says

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By Craig Crowther
PLA soldiers in Tiananmen Square, Beijing
PLA soldiers in Tiananmen Square, Beijing   -   Copyright  AP

China's 'bullying' diplomacy has damaged its credibility in the eyes of Europeans, an analyst has told Euronews. 

Noah Barkin, a senior visiting fellow with the Asia programme at the German Marshall Fund, told Good Morning Europe, that Beijing had exerted pressure on European nations to give business to Huawei, a Chinese mobile phone operator, and support its recent actions in Hong Kong. 

Barkin said that as a result, many Europeans had formed an unfavourable view of the country. 

"Polls suggest European's image of China has deteriorated in this crisis and part of that is because of how China has reacted," he said. 

A recent poll conducted by Körber-Stiftung, a Hamburg-based non-profit, found that 36 per cent of Germans now view China less-favourably since the outbreak of Coronavirus. 25 per cent of Germans said their opinion had improved, while 32 per cent said their opinion remains unchanged.

Barkin said that China's stance on Hong Kong is hardening, shown by the announcement of the National Security Law at the National People's Congress in Beijing. "Over the past week, China has shown that it "won't tolerate descent in Hong Kong."

Chinese officials declared last week that it will bypass Hong Kong's Legislative Council to introduce a new national security law following months of protests over a now shelved extradition treaty.

Reflecting on a report published last year which labelled China a strategic competitor and a systemic rival, Barkin also said we can already see the tightening of FDI (foreign direct investment) rules to stop China from effectively buying up EU companies. 

He also suggested that we could see a more forceful pushback on Hong Kong if they were to suppress the protests.